A song, a strong message from climate advocates and a focus on the council's significant sustainability initiatives have put the spotlight firmly on climate action.
The crowd at Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's meeting at Laurieton on Wednesday, October 16 heard Rachel Sheppard's rendition of the song, What's Up, just before the meeting started.
Peter Matthison spoke about why addressing climate change was so important, while Ms Sheppard supported an agenda item about sustainability initiatives and programs.
Councillors unanimously voted to ask the general manager to provide a report to the December 2019 meeting with an overview of significant sustainability initiatives and programs which the council has previously and is currently engaged in.
The report will include how each might relate to climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.
The council will also consider funding a sustainability officer in the 2020-2021 operational plan.
Ms Sheppard thanked deputy mayor Lisa Intemann for putting forward the motion.
"I'm very much in support of considerable climate action and this is obviously a great step towards it," she said.
Ms Sheppard said she saw this motion to be a very conservative step in what was needed.
Cr Intemann said the council had sustainability at the forefront of its mind for some time.
She said the report would bring together the council's actions.
A snapshot of the council's actions range from the areas of water management and tree management to energy, protection from floods, weed control and dealing with acid sulphate soils.
The council established a Sustainability Working Group in 2018.
Cr Intemann said the council could start looking at the gaps after the December report.
Cr Peter Alley said the council had done a lot of work in terms of sustainability and looking after the environment.
"This is an opportunity to talk about those things," he said.
"This is a step in the right direction."
Mayor Peta Pinson said the council was doing some wonderful things in the sustainability space.
She believes the council needs to better communicate that to the community.
Meanwhile, community members made passionate pleas at the September meeting to act now to address climate change. The council deferred taking steps towards a climate change policy.
Mr Matthison reiterated his position at the October meeting.
He said we needed a climate change policy and climate change action plan and we needed it now.
Mr Matthison said unfortunately this part of Australia was one of the areas where climate change would hit the hardest.
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